Between here and there

I don’t like that this is beginning to look like a Friday Five blog.  I’m really looking to post more often, and I do look at the dashboard and go in, but I have been lazy to write and attempt putting together a blogpost.  There are a ton of pictures to share — you can see my Instagram feed constantly being updated.  I guess it seems that the inspiration to write comes in short bursts — long enough for me to write a blurb or to tweet, but not quite to complete a coherent blog post.

A lot has been happening on my side of the world.  Manila alone has a half dozen topics in draft mode somewhere in my brain.  The thing is that it’s been a struggle pulling out those thoughts into actual words that can make up a story I can tell here.  It’s like a never-ending loop playing in my head, but not quite making enough sense for me to connect everything with a beginning and an end in words.  I am trying.

Do I sound like I’m whining again?  Maybe I am.  Monday sees us greeting June hello and that means we’re almost at the halfway point of 2015.   Where did the time go?  And yet I find myself at a good juncture and I am actually okay with how time has flown from January to June — well, in most respects.
They call this the #AvenueOfTheAmericas.  #myny #mynyc #myNewYork #NewYorkCity #NewYork #manhattan #SixthAvenue #blackandwhite #midtown #streetscene

Life is the way it is — it isn’t perfect.  There are many things which I wish weren’t the way they were, and yet I choose to dwell on the things that have somehow surprised me and fell pleasantly on my lap and somehow threw a burst of color and sprinkles and magic dust all around.  (I’m not on any medication, thank you.  It’s just the way I see things tonight.. how do you describe it..  With bursts of color.. and magic dust, yes.  Go imagine..)

Maybe it’s because New York is finally warmer… (Hit 80something today, yay!  Even with a threat of a storm hanging over our heads despite a defiant sun trying to make it through the thick canopy of grey clouds above us!)  I can finally say this is MY kind of weather.=)

Manhattan in spring

Not quite Manila but close enough.

I like this kind of weather — when the sun can unleash all its power and bathe the city with its warmth and heat and I’d feel alright — sweat and all.  When the parks and the streets are blooming all around me!  Such color, such life.. it seems to be reminding us all that life is a never-ending cycle — what dies in the fall and lays bare in the winter comes back to life in the spring.
Spring in bloom

I’m trying to continue with the journey to happy, and the biggest dilemma I have about that right now is to cut or not to cut my hair.  (I am so torn.)  I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to get it cut by Alex Carbonell over at BenchFix in Greenbelt 5, and everyone loved it!  I usually trim again after 4 weeks and it’s been 4 weeks since, but I have gotten at least 3 compliments just this week which makes me think that I can hang on to the hair just a bit longer.  Maybe another week?

I have gotten back to art journaling (yay, again!) — and that part, I am very, very happy about.

UntitledI had stopped writing and drawing in my altered book for two months now — more or less– and I’ve stopped trying to catch up and have just picked up from what’s current.  My altered book should be good for another month or two and I will have to begin a new one.  I can’t wait..

The altered book looks all worn but I will redo its binding and create a cover for it.  I am hoping to do the same size for the next one.. It feels good to be able to continue with the project and see the book almost altered to the end, and soon, will be all filled with my journaling.  It’s been quite a learning experience for me, and it continues to evolve each time I go back to it.  One thing that hasn’t changed is its spontaneity.  I go back to working on the book when the inspiration hits me.

And I’ve had a lot of creative inspiration lately.  I’m trying to do freeform crochet, I’m creating jewelry pieces and I’ve been trying to color my photographs to add some drama or change its whole composition to transform it.

Hopefully that inspiration will transform to more posts here — soon.  Almost the weekend, folks!

Friday Five – the Turnaround

The week has been long but nice.  One of those weeks when a lot happened but didn’t necessarily wreak havoc on my sanity and health.  There were a lot of moments that saw me smiling.  There were a lot of happy moments.  Plenty enough that the usual worries were but a hum in the background.

Here’s my progress report:

1.  Cut my flower embellishments for my Thank You Postcard Project.  Done!  I can’t stop making them, though, so there’s more to cut.

2.  Finish the polymerclay earrings I had put together three weeks ago.  Life was just too hectic, but will do this weekend.

3. Paint the multi-window page I had cut out o f my altered book.  Just have to keep going.

4.  Mail the letter to GINA!!!    Now have to write another..

5.  Start photographing my Starbucks mugs again.  This weekend?

My weekends come and go, mostly unplanned.  I’m very spontaneous in that regard.  I look at weekends as a flowing 48 hours that are rarely planned in advance.  For example, I’m thinking about breakfast but I’m not fixated on planning for it.

I just want my “Michael’s” fix, and I make a mental note of my shopping list.  I think of what treat I will indulge in, and then I keep my fingers crossed the sun will come out and I’ll have more things to smile about.

All I’m thinking about is maybe creating a piece for myself, but here’s next week’s Friday Five.

1.  Send out two prototype Thank You Postcards for a test run.

2.  Finish the polymerclay earrings I had put together three week ago.

3. Continue to paint the multi-window page I had cut out of my altered book. 

4.  Write Donna a letter.    

5.  Start photographing my Starbucks mugs again. 

I’m exhausted but “happy” exhausted.  I feel like I had done a lot.. between the elevator rides, a department luncheon that was a big hit, and trying to keep the department happy, I’m totally bushed.  But again, I feel good.  I know the boss was happy (which was what mattered), and I feel I accomplished a lot.

Here’s hoping everyone has a good weekend wherever the weekend finds you.

 

 

Friday Five (Returns)

I have been waking up at 4:30am the last couple of days for some reason.  Unfortunately, no matter how I try to “fight” it, I can’t quite go back to sleep and end up sliding out of bed by 5am.  This morning, I treated myself to a call to the siblings back home — and we had a few laughs and dizzying moments trying Viber Video Chat, but I had to give it up eventually because it might trigger my vertigo.  My nieces and nephew couldn’t keep the cam still!

So I’ve decided to bring back my Friday Five — an attempt at focusing on five tasks over the weekend, hoping to get things done.  (HOPING being the operative word.)  The idea is to keep the tasks simple and doable, and as specific as possible.  The last iteration didn’t quite live up to that so I sort of drifted away from it.  But as the blog post title says, Friday Five returns.

1.  Cut my flower embellishments for my Thank You Postcard Project.  I have had to deal with some major distractions the last couple of weeks but have continued to prep for that big pay-it-forward project I hope to do this fall.

2.  Finish the polymerclay earrings I had put together three weeks ago.  I know. Major slump with the production and the store, but the “beads” have been strung up and the dangles constructed.  Just need to put the earwire hooks and either give them away or post them in the shop.

3.  Paint the multi-window page I had cut out of my altered book.  I haven’t stopped art journaling although I’ve slowed down, but I’m happy with the pace I’ve been moving towards the end of the book with the backgrounds and all.  I picked up one of the word art embellishments I have and then designed a multi-page/multi-window layout.  Windows have been cut, so it’s time to start actually doing backgrounds.  At least 1 page painted over the weekend would be good.

4.  Mail the letter to GINA!!!  

5.  Start photographing my Starbucks mugs again.  I got a mug from Jordan!!!!

I’m looking forward to the weekend and hoping I can actually tick off some of the above if not all.  Meanwhile, I’m finishing another blog post which is taking a while because it’s a rather emotional post for me — writing about my siblings.

Busy weekend with some relatives in town.. but it’s a weekend, and although our company doesn’t observe Columbus Day (Monday), I’m still excited about what the weekend can bring.

Happy Friday, everyone!

 

 

Art Journal Every Day – Journal First Aid

Art Journal Every DayThis really started just as another spread painted in one color, and while I sometimes edit the background before starting to write, this layout needed major first aid with the pages falling apart from each other.  Masking tape to the rescue.  Of course, I wouldn’t leave it just like that, but I wanted to keep journaling instead of editing the page before writing.

The cut out of Angelo’s picture on the right came later, as well, as it’s a new picture of him taken during the first day of school.

Art Journal Every Day
Gold was my color of choice which I brushed on top of the masking tape and sort of “splattered” with the brush on the edges of the photo.  (Angelo was complaining about my doing that, but I told him it was to create a certain effect in the layout.)  I like how acrylic paint easily covers and adheres to masking tape although I think the drying time is a little longer than doing it just on plain paper.

I like acrylic over masking tape as a writing surface, though, as the pen glides through it nicely and it absorbs the ink just the same way.
Art Journal Every Day

So here’s the final page, with the entry written in another text direction.  I like doing that to separate the days when a spread accommodates several days.  I hate leaving blank spaces in my journal.

My journals are not quite as artistic or fantastic as most other art journals that make even me drool for its color and impact.  I am working with an altered book which in itself is still a work in progress, and I am enjoying creating layouts to later embellish or write on.  It is also different writing on a page you had created yourself instead of  being confined to plain journal pages.  Luckily, I am many weeks ahead of the actual journaling as far as the altered book is concerned, so I can choose to stick with plain journal entries (simply writing them) or embellish already existing backgrounds.

Some art journalers prefer to start from scratch and create the page, but it’s the writing more than the art that really draws me to the project, so I tend to be very text heavy instead of just “representative” of what I am feeling or thinking about in the art journal.

As they say, to each his own.  This is my journal, after all.

 

Friday Five – Shifting gears

When I started writing this post, I didn’t feel good at all that I thought I didn’t have much progress to report this week.  But then I am here proofing the post and I realize I didn’t do so bad after all.  Last week, I aimed to:

1.  Write more letters.  Yes and no.  One of the letters I had hoped to mail got stuck with me, so I did write an addition.  Does that count?

2.  List new items. Not quite there but I am working on it.  Photographing and editing the pictures for posting can take a while.  I’ve photographed them and am halfway through editing.  Maybe this weekend?

3.  Create more polymer clay beads and additional pieces for posting.  I have another batch that has been baked and another set ready for baking.  I’m experimenting with the transluscent variety and am really liking the end product.

Polymer clay discs- experimenting

4.  Sort and store away the postcards that are “out” in the open.  They are still out in the open.  (Obviously didn’t get to this one.)

5.  Work on a THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT blog post and continue on with the project.   I feel like this should actually be struck out in bold because I did manage to make substantial progress as far as creating the postcards, but writing has been difficult to make time for.  Did you see my badge on the widget bar to the right?  So proud of that!  Again, more this weekend.  (I am hopeful.)

zentangledthankyoupostcardcolored
Should I be worried that I keep repeating the list and not being able to tick off what’s enumerated there?  I might have to rethink what I list down.  Where it was supposed to make accomplishing my tasks during the weekend easier to accomplish, I haven’t been making much progress.

So let’s try another tack this week.  I’m making the list very specific.  Measurable, as they say.  Here’s my new Friday Five:

1.  Write on the postcards I meant to send out to friends in Manila.  I have the postcards on my desk, just have to find my stamps and the addresses.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  What can I say — I’m cheap.  I don’t see the rationale behind paying someone close to $10 per pair of pants when the nuns taught me how to sew well.  (Plus, I just bought some pins to help me keep it together — “aspile” as we used to call it back home.)

3.  Create my first THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT teaser video.   I have over a hundred slides to play with but I am being too meticulous with the timing and in picking the slides to actually use.  (Too much going on with this project!)

4.  Create a pair or two of earrings from my polymer clay discs.  I actually can’t wait to do this for myself!

5.  Go back to reading and praying with my daily Kerygma literature.  At the end of the day, this one is ready to be ticked off the list.

Not bad, after all.

Art Journal Every Day Updates

I haven’t done an update on my Art Journal Every Day project for a while now and I thought I’d do that before I got too far behind.

Here’s one where I had an all white plain background, and I used one of my fancy paper napkins to cover the masking tape I had used to secure the two sides of the layout together. (My book is falling apart on me!)
Art Journal Every Day

I simply cut out the flowers from two sides of the napkin and laid them out in the middle to cover the masking tape. I drew some word art on one side and confined the journaling to the other.

The next one is part of a multi-page layout I had done a while back, with cutouts of “HAPPY MEMORIES” done over a three layout spread.

Art Journal Every Day

Here is the second page layout.  I completed the spread and even managed to zentangle on the back of the first word cutout.

Art Journal Every Day

The third layout spread still has the back of the cut out word blank.

Art Journal Every Day

I’ve even gone further with the next layout. I had the word art done a long time ago, but didn’t know where to put it unntil I came across another  all-white background.
Art Journal Every Day

As you can see, I simply zentangled around the word art and proceeded to art journal on to the next layout — and more about that for next time.

I’m trying to be consistent with the journaling and hope to finish up this book by the end of the year. I am tempted to start another one but I don’t have the energy or the time.  Sometimes even just choosing the “format” or size of the journal can be such an effort.

No matter how short my entry is, I try to write something down every day, or work on the layout surrounding the journaling somehow.  Here’s to another wonderful week ahead for everyone…

Friday Five (after a week-long silence)

For some reason, I haven’t been “here”, so my last post was last week’s Friday Five.  This is becoming a bit staid, don’t you think?  I think it just reflects how my life has been.  Not particularly busy, but moving in all directions.. or not.  It’s hard to explain, so before I blabber on, let me put down my progress report on last week’s Friday Five:

So let’s move forward with our usual list.. Last week, this is what I had set to do:

1.  Write more letters.  I managed to finish at least another one.  And that’s good enough.

2.  Post more than just relisted items in the shop. Uhm.. next please.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book. Believe it or not, I did this background as I hit “publish” on the previous week’s post.  I took out a plain white paper napkin, tore off the second layer and sprayed and waited for it to dry.  See below.

I think it’ll need at least a coat of Mod Podge — to follow.

Friday five, The Thank You Postcard Project

4.  Create more polymer clay beads.  I got busy making pieced flower doodles.  So this’ll be something to do this weekend.

5.  Continue building my THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT blog and completing more pieces.  No on the blog, but yes to more pieces…  I’m not too happy about the ones you see here, but it’s a start.  At least I know now what I don’t want to do.

This weekend’s Friday Five:

1.  Write more letters.  

2.  List new items. (Meaning to create one of my multi-charm necklaces per Lou’s query on pricing.  Coming soon!)

3.  Create more polymer clay beads and additional pieces for posting.  I am determined to work on my transluscent clay this weekend. I tried creating a transluscent cane midweek but wasn’t happy at all with the results.  So I’m trying something else.  I also stacked the beads and discs that have been baked and it makes me want to create more..

4.  Sort and store away the postcards that are “out” in the open.  I haven’t been good with this but hope to send out what I can and store what I should.  The postcard collector in the Pinay New Yorker has been in exile… bring her back!!!

5.  Work on a THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT blog post and continue on with the project.  I must confess that this project has been a very good “escape” for me, be it in its very essence (trying to spread some kindness to the rest of the world postally) or in working on its elements (like doodling and cutting and assembling the pieced paper flowers).  Will it ever get off the ground?  Hopefully.

The thank you postcard project

Not for anything but I might not be back until next Friday.  I will try.  This is not a good week for me but I am trying to stay positive.

Robin William’s passing has made me think of many things I want to write about.  As a fan, a parent, someone struggling against her own bouts of being lost.  But that’s another blog post altogether.  It might be too hard to write right now, but I will get to it.

There are many things I am reflecting on after finding myself celebrating yet another milestone here — 15 years in the US.  It feels like half a lifetime.  I don’t feel there is anything to celebrate, but there are many things to reflect upon.  So reflect, I will.

I am trying to conquer the angry demons in my heart.  I don’t like how negative thoughts weigh me down.  So I think of being thankful — I try to concentrate on that.  I don’t like how my anxiety creeps up on me as I sleep.  I end up staying up so late trying to avoid closing my eyes.

I wait until I cannot postpone sleep any longer so that when I put my head down, sleep comes quickly.

Have a restful weekend, everyone.

Friday Five – Getting there

Can you believe summer’s almost over?  It’s August!!  I think I’ve done pretty well for summer although there’s still a lot that I need to take care of.  Soon enough.  I know trying not to stress about it has a tendency to get me complacent and totally behind.  But the intention is there.

There are days when it’s hard enough to get one foot in front of the other so to speak.  When you think about the so-called “big picture”, you realize there are so many cogs and wheels running through your whole life.  So many little things making up the “whole”.  Baby steps, some say.  It’ll eventually get you moving forward.

So let’s move forward with our usual list.. Last week, this is what I had set to do:

1.  Write those letters.  Yes, I got one done, but I hope to write more!

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.  This will have to go to the following week.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  I tried, but I’ve been journalinlg!

4.  Create more polymer clay beads.  In progress..

5.  Complete a bunch of THANK YOU POSTCARDS.  Does one count?

Zentanglef, Black and white postcard
I still have the weekend to accomplish something.  But here’s my next Friday Five:

1.  Write more letters.  

2.  Post more than just relisted items in the shop.  I have a bunch of items that expired over the last couple of days which I have relisted, but I want the shop to continue to grow.  I need to create more pieces.  I think one stumbling block is that I keep wanting to create “new” designs but I have a ton to work with by using what I already have.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  Work has been busy because of my vacation last week so I haven’t had much free time.  Things will hopefully ease up this coming week and I will be able to take this off my list next week.

4.  Create more polymer clay beads.  I’ve done great progress here although I’m waiting until the weekend to bake them.  Instead of concentrating on ‘pieces’, I’m trying just focus on “beads” and I’ve had more success there.

5.  Continue building my THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT blog and completing more pieces.  I’m still a little hesitant to “launch” the project because I want all the little pieces to be ready.  I think I’m doing okay as it is.  There is really no deadline for the project and I’d rather wait when it’s ready rather than scramble to pull something together and then have it all blow up in my face.

There are times when I want to just keep going and keep drawing or creating through the night.  I literally have to drag myself back to bed as I remind myself there’s work the following day.  But at least it’s Friday!!  Weekend’s here…

Back to Art Journaling and saying thanks

Art Journal Every dayI was hoping to be halfway done with the altered book I’ve been using for my Art Journal Every Day entries by now, but the problem is that I haven’t been too good with the “every day” bit. Weeks to even a month between posts have practically ground the art journaling to a halt. But I have picked up the Art journal again, so there is hope.

I thought I’d do a “Thank you” post, more so since I’ve been trying to kick off a project. It’s something that I’ve been playing around with in my head and something I’ve been doing some mail art to prepare for. We just don’t say those two words enough. On the other side of the spectrum, a simple thank you in our hands can make such a world of difference.

I’m pulling together a Thank You Postcard Project by repurposing old advertising free cards into mail art with a visual “thank you.” I’m using my stash of decorative/fancy table napkins, subway (and other) maps and other background materials to cover the original print. I’m even using some of my original photography in some. I’ve probably pieced together close to a hundred of my doodled flowers and I just can’t stop.

It’s not about me thanking you. I want to give you the medium to say “Thank you.”  It’s about saying thank you with a postcard.. more to come.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE (A multi-page layout)

I have several of these multi-page layouts in my altered book but I tried to think of words which evoked positivity and then executed it in different ways.

This layout started out as this:

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - original multi-page layout before journaling
The left hand page was a watercolor layout I pasted on the book page, and I picked out four different fonts for the individual letters of “HOPE”. I painted the pages and concentrated on the fourth of the right side page that I needed and then traced the letters onto the page and cut them.

Because the pages with the letters had acrylic paint, I had to use permanent ink to draw and write on them.  Note that ordinary black signpens will not adhere to the paint and tend to stain the other page. As this was already a rather “colorful” layout, I decided I’d stick with an all-black border and background theme.

I did the first layout with doodled flowers and hand-drawn dates.

Art Journal Every Day -HOPE

After I finished the first entry, I then started drawing on the empty spaces behind the letters to make the multi-page layout more cohesive. I also made sure each journal block had a distinctive border to frame the entry.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I also maximized the blank spaces behind the letters as much as I could. Black worked for the most part but I needed to use silver and/or gold for the darker page painted with violet. I kept the floral embellishment to black, though.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

For the final layout below, I decided to use some spray painted
filofax grid pages I had sprayed with ink. I simply pasted it onto the blank center and wrote on it.  I wanted to do more journaling than drawing on this particular spread, and it was just easier writing on a water-color or ink painted journal space than the practically whole two-page spread that was painted with light purple acrylic paint.  I drew randomly on the other blank spaces to fill it in.Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I am very heavy on the written journaling and have yet to move on to symbolic or art-based entries. I am trying, but this works better for me.

I’m finishing another multi-page layout again right now and will probably be able to share that next week. (If not sooner.)  Some of the entries are short and other go on from page to page.  I don’t necessarily choose to confine my entries on one page.  I let it flow and just move on to the next page if I’ve run out of space.

I’ve tried to work on part of a layout or a layout every day but I don’t stress about “catching up” if I miss out on a day or two.  If I do, I just write when I can.  I write in the “now” so whatever day it is when I finally write again, I pick up from there.

Time to do today’s entry.